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The Peggy Lee Bio-Discography:
The Brut Deal (1973)

by Iván Santiago

Page generated on Sep 17, 2021


The Peggy Lee Look

Above: Peggy Lee in the company of Carly Simon, James Taylor, and Andy Warhol (the first two then a married couple) at the Waldorf Astoria's Empire Room in New York City, on March 20, 1973. A Lee engagement was running its course there. The couple had come to see her perform. For his part, Warhol was there to not only see the performance but also photograph celebrities. At Lee's table, one of his two Polaroid shots is of Lee herself, the other of a male (possibly Warhol himself). Additional photography from their table meeting will be provided in this discography's Live section, once that page has been completed. For another sample of Peggy Lee's 1973 look, scroll down to the bottom of the page, where a summer picture can be found.

Date: Late May Or Early June 1973
Label: Brut

Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. Master Take (Brut) A Touch Of Class / All That Love Went To Waste(George Barrie, Sammy Cahn)

General Note

This is a tentative entry. My only source of information about this session's hypothetical existence is the periodical Variety, where I have found a couple of suggestive comments. The comments pertain to Brut (a record company active in 1973 and 1974) and to A Touch Of Class (a 1973 movie). Both were brainchildren of George Barrie, owner of the hair-care and perfume company Fabergé. Another creation of his was the men's cologne Brut, whose market success inspired him to create not only Brut Records but also Brut Productions (a movie and television company).

The May 18, 1973 issue of Variety makes mention of a screening of A Touch Of Class at DGA (The Directors' Guild of America) which featured one of the scriptwriters, Jack Rose. We are also told that "Peggy Lee, there with [ABC-TV producer] Gary Pudney, may wax the title Class tune, musicked by Brut boss George Barrie." Subsequently, both June 15 and June 20 issues of the same periodical quoted Barrie as saying that "Dean Martin and Peggy Lee have recorded a number from Touch Of Class." (In the absence of any further information on the matter, one may or may not assume that Barrie was speaking of separate recordings by Lee and Martin, rather than a duet. Extant discographical data makes no references at all to a Brut Dino date.)

Other numbers from the soundtrack of A Touch Of Class include "She Loves Me, She Told Me Last Night" (a duet sung by the film's stars, George Segal and Glenda Jackson), "Nudge Me," "Amor Mío," and "I Always Knew." All of them were co-written by Barrie and Cahn except for the last one, which Cahn did in corroboration with the movie's orchestrator, John Cameron.

But it is for another Barrie-Cahn number that the film's score is best remembered: "All That Love Went To Waste." This ballad received an Oscar nomination for best song of 1973. Soul singer Madeline Bell is heard singing both "All That Love Went To Waste" and "A Touch Of Class" in the soundtrack. Following in her footsteps, the various singers who recorded "All That Love Went To Waste" during 1974 included Shirley Bassey, Charlene Duncan, and Stuart Gillies.

Brut Records released several 45-rpm cover version of its own, as well as its edition of the Touch Of Class soundtrack on 12" vinyl. Besides a Madeline Bell 45 containing her two aforementioned interpretations, Brut recruited Tony Bennett to sing "All That Love Went To Waste" (backed with the old vaudeville standard "Some Of These Days"), and Brook Benton to cover both numbers as well. Because the movie was a British-produced venture, it is possible that some of these items were intended for the UK market, others for the US market. (Though American, Madeline Bell became best known in Great Britain, when she lived for much of her lifetime.)

In line with its short lifespan (1973-1974), Brut has a relatively small catalogue. The singles amount to roughly twenty, the LPs less than a dozen -- one of them being Michael Franks' debut album. Buddah Records served as distributor for what is reported to have been a New York-based outfit. The link to Buddah points in turn to BMG as the likeliest holder of Brut's catalogue in more recent decades.

To reiterate, solid indication of Brut recording activity on Peggy Lee's part comes only from the second of the two quotes that I have cited above. Besides said quote (from Variety magazine), support for the notion of recording activity is scant or, at best, indirect and circumstantial. There is the existence of the already mentioned Tony Bennett single, which suggests that the label was courting artists within Lee's bracket. (The aforementioned reference to Dean Martin adds to the impression, too. But bear in mind that, as with Lee, I have no corroboration of any Martin recording.) We could also take into account Barrie's closeness to Lee's own friend Cary Grant, whom Barrie even brought into the board of Fabergé. Furthermore, it is worth noting that Lee frequently sang "All That Love Went To Waste" in her concert appearances from the mid-1970s.

The first of the above-quoted Variety entries establishes "A Touch of Class" as the likeliest song to have been recorded by Peggy Lee for the Brut label. However, and given the auxiliary tense used on that particular quote ("may record"), there is no reason to discard the possibility that Lee could have wounded up recording another number -- or, even better, more than one. The popular, award-nominated song "All That Love Went To Waste" would have been a particularly viable candidate for a recording date. As for the reference to both Dean Martin and Peggy Lee in the other quote from Variety, it raises hopes, however dim, for a gathering of the two singers to record the film's duet "She Loves Me, She Told Me Last Night."

Photos. Above: A poster showcasing the film A Touch Of Class. Brut's album soundtrack for the same movie (front cover and both sides of the vinyl disc). Two of several Brut singles featuring cover versions of the soundtrack's music. Below: the ever-classy Cary Grant is flanked by the Touch Of Class soundtrack songwriters, George Barrie (left) and Sammy Cahn (right). The occasion was a 1982 ceremony and dinner honoring Barrie with a Humanitarian Award (Plaza's Grand Ballroom, LA, May 4th). Also, a Peggy Lee photo, with a July 3, 1973 Chicago Daily News. stamp on its back. That is the date on which the paper ran a Patricia Sheldon article and interview of Peggy Lee, whom the interview finds "looking as fresh as a daisy at 3 o'clock the morning after" a performance in Chicago's Lake Geneva Club, despite having "been up since 6:30 the previous morning, and rehearsing all day. I have a copy of this interview but has not seen the newspaper itself; I can only presume that the photo under discussion was printed next to the article. I am also making the assumption that the photo was taken at the club, on that July. However, I've caught sight of this same picture at a blog where the location is given as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, in New York. Lee had been at the Waldorf back in March and would return to the venue in November. I do not know if the blogger is mistaken, or if he simply possesses more specific information than what is at my reach.

Sessions Reported: 1

Performances Reported: 1

Unique Songs Reported: 1